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Chicken processor Pilgrim's Pride Corp. said it has agreed to a plea deal with the U.S. Justice Department to resolve price-fixing charges, and will pay a fine of $110.5 million.
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A guilty plea by Pilgrim's, the second-largest U.S. chicken processor by sales, will make it the first company to admit in court to what prosecutors have alleged was a roughly seven-year effort across much of the U.S. chicken industry to inflate prices. That coordination pushed up poultry prices paid by fast-food chains and other chicken buyers, prosecutors alleged.
PILGRIM'S PRIDE CEO, 3 OTHER CHICKEN INDUSTRY EXECUTIVES INDICTED FOR PRICE FIXING
Pilgrim's said the plea agreement provides that the Justice Department will bring no further charges against the Colorado-based company, and doesn't recommend an outside compliance monitor. The agreement doesn't require any restitution or probationary period, the company said.
"We are encouraged that today's agreement concludes the Antitrust Division's investigation into Pilgrim's, providing certainty regarding this matter to our team members, suppliers, customers and shareholders," Pilgrim's Chief Executive Fabio Sandri said.